Deep Gratitude from Faith and Joy School in Tacna, Peru
Arriving just in time to help the students, teachers, and families cope with the COVID crisis, the Sisters Rising Worldwide donation was able to help a part-time psychologist who has been serving the Fei & Allegri School for the last four years to move to full-time, serving 1,000 primary and high school students, as they coped with the changes required by COVID-19. In Peru, students have been attending school remotely since school began in March. “The current situation in the face of the pandemic has caused changes in our lives because our routines, habits, customs, way of thinking and way of relating to the school have changed, which has forced us to promote adaptation strategies,” shared Sr. Zaida Perez.
Families of students are in crisis. Forty percent of the parents of students are in the informal employment sector, where they are running very small businesses that allow them to subsist from day-to-day. Many haven’t been able to consistently work since the COVID crisis began, causing widespread hunger. The sisters have been able to help many. Often students must work with their parents. Together the parents and the psychologists help the students deal with their stresses so that they can focus on their education while assisting their family.
Speaking about the increased psychologist services, Sr. Zaida shared, “We are blessed with a lot of help in this time of great need during the long confinement. A part-time psychologist and a practicum student are assisting our full-time psychologist. In addition, this year, the Ministry of Education assigned a psychologist to the school to work with the teachers in order to teach them to be able to help give support to the students and their families. The Parent Association has also raised funds to support our psychological team in helping the teachers, parents, and students in coping with the many adjustments that need to be made.”
The educational psychologist seeks to promote mental health in the educational community and contribute to the comprehensive training of students, that is, to the full development of their academic, emotional and social capacities. This has been happening through phone-call sessions.
The psychologists coordinate the actions of accompaniment with the homeroom monitors and teachers who refer the students who present some kind of difficulty or learning disability or inappropriate behavior in the family. Each student has a psychologist who is their contact. Assistance is also shared with their homeroom monitor or the teacher who supports the student.
Remote learning and counseling have been challenging for the students who don’t answer the calls from the psychologists because their phones haven´t been charged or because they are working for family survival. The psychologists consult these situations with the homeroom monitor or teacher or assistant principals. Sometimes Sr. Zaida also intervenes to find out what is happening.
During this year of remote learning, both the parents and teachers have benefitted from services offered on-line. These days, many people are dying and / or will die from the coronavirus. Workshops have provided participants with tools to help them face all these changes, live their grieving processes in a healthy way and be able to effectively accompany the students. During the workshops, the participants were attentive, asked questions and were grateful for generating this space for reflection and sharing.
“I am very grateful for your wonderful help. This is a great need that we have tried to support throughout the years that we have been in the school (almost 30 years).”